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I have to write a paper with the requirement to use "1.5 line spacing" 12pt Times New Roman. Naturally I used

Lorem ipsum…

So far so good. But I'm a litte paranoid so I checked it with Word and was suprised to get something completely different, so I made this comparison:


you may have to open that in a new tab.

But seriously? Am I missing something? Everyone recommends using \onehalfspacing but that can't be right? I checked the text with a bare minimum and the results are the same:



Lorem ipsum...

I guess my question is: what setting should I use?

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The answers to What does 'double spacing' mean? might explain the unexpected result and provide solutions. – Gonzalo Medina Aug 4 '12 at 21:19
As far as I understand it the main difference is the definition of "line spacing". (La)TeX seems the to define it as the baseline-to-baseline distance (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leading). Word & co seem to use the total width of the inter-line white space as "line spacing". – hakaze Aug 4 '12 at 21:22
You might want to check with whomever set the requirements. Some people are picky and assume their understanding of what 1.5 spacing means is the only correct one; other, more reasonable people will not be so dogmatic; and if the person who gave the requirement uses *TeX, then the setspace solution will be just fine. – jon Aug 4 '12 at 23:48
Well, thanks. I'm studying law so I can be glad that people don't require me to use a typewriter. Since this is a "hard" requirement (they can give you a bad mark if you disregard it) I guess the \spaced{1.5} Version is the way to go... – niclas197 Aug 5 '12 at 7:39



This equals 1.5 linespacing in Word, as was corrected by the comments (Beni cherniavsky paskin).

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As explanation: \onehalfspacing stands for "a half", while \spacing doesn't seem limited to the spaces between lines, but more a general use of space. – Dualinity Aug 5 '12 at 20:19
From another source: Use \linespread{1.3} for "one and a half" line spacing, and \linespread{1.6} for "double" line spacing. – Dualinity Aug 5 '12 at 20:21
Care to share some link or reference to these sources? – Werner Aug 5 '12 at 21:07
well, atleast not for me: EXAMPLE. I'm kind of frustrated. I don't mind using \spacing{1.5} but I don't understand how this can differ from every (german) LaTeX source that recommends \onehalfspacing ? And even \spacing{1.5} isn't exactly like Word, at least not my Version (Office 2011 Mac). – niclas197 Aug 6 '12 at 7:08
well I printed and measured it (not really precise but it'll do). While \onehalfspacing has ~3,5mm between the bottom line of "h" and the top line of "T", Word has ~4,25mm and \spacing{1.5} 4,75mm. I tried \spacing{1.4} which is exactly \onehalfspacing and now end up using \spacing{1.45} which has roughly the size of Word for Times New Roman 12pt. – niclas197 Aug 6 '12 at 8:46

Not exactly an answer but a caveat: Some of these seem sensitive to placement.
[TL;DR: all 3 affect the whole document if placed in preamble.]
I found experimentally (in a \documentclass[a4paper,11pt]{article} doc) that:


  • before \begin{document} affects the whole document
  • between \begin{document} and \maketitle affects only the title
  • after \maketitle has zero effect

\onehalfspacing (same result as above in a 11pt doc):

  • as package option (\usepackage[onehalfspacing]{setspace}) affects the whole document
  • before \begin{document} affects the whole document
  • between \begin{document} and \maketitle affects the whole document
  • after \maketitle affects the whole document except title


  • before \begin{document} affects the whole document
  • between \begin{document} and \maketitle affects the whole document
  • after \maketitle affects the whole document except title

As you found, \spacing{1.5} results in much more spacing than the first two; \spacing{1.213} results in exactly the same. So it seems \spacing uses the same units as \linespread.

I'm still confused which I should use. setspace package is certainly the more polished option — it doesn't space footnotes and captions, and as http://tex.stackexchange.com/a/30114/7262 explains it adjusts params for 10pt/11pt/12pt which would be cumbersome and easy to forget otherwise. It's also robust wrt. placement and provides clean ways to change spacing in parts of the document.

On What does 'double spacing' mean? most opinions conclude that setspace invented its own definition of 1.5 / double spacing, while Word uses what's probably the historically common definition — it there ever was one — but it might not matter as most people requiring "double spacing" don't know what it should mean and in practice accept both...

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\linespread{...} should be followed by \selectfont, which is issued at \begin{document}. I know no “accepted definition” of double spacing. – egreg Nov 4 '15 at 9:15
Thanks. These are the kind of details I'd rather not know and just use a package :-) – Beni Cherniavsky-Paskin Nov 4 '15 at 9:23

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